My memories of an elite trolling animation group.
Banner from Socomlavia IV; Joke from Zenith Nadir.
The Socom Squad was an animation group started by myself and four others in December of 2006, and it lasted until July 2009. I had previously been a member of the Glock Group, which was a fun place, but it became so infested with e-drama that the administrators decided it would be better for the group to die, on 2006-08-12.
A few months after this happened, I was contacted by some other Newgrounds users who wanted to attempt to revive the GG. After some operational security issues, we decided to make an original group. We went through a few names - Disk Division, Floppy Faction, and Anti-Alliance - before settling on the Socom Squad. The name was chosen based on the H&K MARK 23 (USSOCOM) pistol, with a flashlight attachment to give it a distinctive boxy shape.
By this point, our core members were established. There was me, which was Blackberry, and my new friends AarghCat and r0ms, who were Raspberry and Pineapple. We were joined by a whimsical non-Socom named Hatter, and a non-animator named Gold. We set up our first forum, later dubbed the City of Socomlavia, and promptly started posting a bunch but not making any Flash.
However, that soon changed. One of the primary missions of the SS was the mockery and destruction of other Clock Crew spinoffs. We picked up our first rival group, a pack of idiots known as the Moon Squad, which gave us something to animate about.
The forum was brought down in March 2007 thanks to the efforts of USERNAMED,
and the group entered a transition period where it was dead, but had high
Newgrounds activity. I believe this was the genesis of our sarcastic
Socom Squad is Dead meme.
Despite being dead, we were still "at war", this time with the Bomb Brigade. They issued forth subpar, serious flashes, with long-ass intros set to "Cotton-Eyed Joe" declaring themselves the superior group. We disagreed, but didn't really respond; our longevity spoke for us as we outlasted them.
At that time, I had been hosting the Socom Squad's character FLA library on my personal website. Pineapple, incensed at the presence of "Socom Squad (dead)" in the sidebar, created a new forum and invited me to administrate it.
Our next rival group appeared: Some hacks disgracing the name of the legendary spam group Uzi Union, calling themselves the United Uzis. They organized a failed holiday, Anti-Socom Day, for which our submissions were more popular.
In our fictional lore, Socomdria was a massive military airship which housed a city and rained down lasers of animated wisdom upon the filthy Newgrounds masses. We embraced that vision by cranking out animations in rapid order, to celebrate Socom Survival Day, Socom Ten Feet Under Day, and many failed attempts to hack the forum.
For a period of about three weeks, Pineapple and Cosby attempted to shift the group over to a phpBB forum. We ended up losing members, and this was regarded as a total failure. Socomdria was rechristened as our official forum until it, too, was taken offline in June.
I always liked to imagine Socomololobod as an inhospitably arid desert town, where Pineapple had an opulent palace dedicated to himself. While there, we even found ourselves an ally in the Commie Club. Both groups briefly merged to form the terrifying Soviet Socoms, arch nemesis of Squidly and his pack of middle-schooler friends in the Newgrounds Rebels.
I tried to make our next forum as similar as possible in design and layout to Socomdria. We just considered it a sequel. Mushroom tried to destroy it, but he was removed, and the forum he tore down rebuilt at the same URL.
A small forum created by Orange, known as "Socom Squad HQ", also existed during this time, but it only ever reached five users.
In July, we moved on yet again, this time to a Nazi-themed forum set up by Martini (ScrewdriverClock). It was hilarious, and a great time, but very short-lived; lasting one month and two days before being taken offline.
With a new forum, it was almost customary that we would acquire a new group to fight with. This time, we took on the Atom Association, specifically Potato Atom. He tried to spread a rumor about having a friend who could hack into the computer networks of NASA.
The group then split apart; both Pineapple and Turnip set up their own forums. At this point, I had gotten tired of the constant hacking and decided to purchase the domain name socomsquids.net. We would have a secure place to host our forums, and response times would be quicker if anything ever went wrong; I could just upload a new index.html file pointing people to the next forum.
Indeed, it was quite the departure from our previous existence on free forum services; we went through only four more forums in the next two years, compared to more than eight in our first six months.
On 2007-08-10, we changed over to ss.net, installing version 1.3 of Invision Power Board so that things wouldn't feel too different. That was fine for a while, but bugs started to crop up. Most of our members started to get strange "Could not query skin information!" messages that stopped them from viewing the forums entirely.
I also hosted a sort-of role play thing, the Socom Squad Civil War, for two or so weeks, interpreting posts from members as skirmishes between factions operated by Pineapple, myself, Carrot, the disavowed Communist, and the quirky Newfoundland. It ended in the formation of the Socomsquiddian Union, uniting under the three-starred banner.
We started using the slogan "Gay. Unoriginal. Squid." to describe what we did. We slowly renamed ourselves the Socom Squids in tribute of this, which is why our anniversary was named SquiDay.
There was a lack of long-lasting groups during this period, so we tended to have smaller feuds with short-lived groups, such as the Paperbag People and Beretta Brotherhood.
On 2007-12-06, Carrot established a backup forum, Socom Squad Sycophags (Sycophagia), while I installed MyBB to ss.net. Lasting for almost ten months, it was our longest-running forum, and one that I have a full copy of.
Our obligatory rival spinoffs for this forum, following a quickly-eliminated revival of the Glock Group by some clueless noobs, were the Gear Group and Shades Gang. We kept tabs on many others via our Squidsurgency forum, but those two just kept popping up.
We also decided that we hate the Lock Legion, but that was largely just to have something to make Flash about. Unfortunately, the real threat came from within, in the form of the Gold Team. Carrot and his friend Ian, who is spammy shitposting personified, shook things up on the forum for four months because I forgot I could ban people. Even then, it took them flooding the General Discussion forum in protest of me locking pointless threads for Pineapple to decide it would be best to get rid of them.
There was a brief intermission in June; we switched to a phpBB forum hosted on IceCream's website, because Narrator had said he could create a nice forum skin for us. He decided to partake in summer jobs that paid actual money instead. We went back to ss.net's MyBB forum in July, upon which I renamed it Socomlavia IV in honor of the banishment of the cancerous Gold Team. This is where our "chemotherapy" meme originated. Most groups had some sort of Time Trials, but we started Chemo Trials.
We had been on the MyBB forum for so long that things started to grow stale. Change was needed. On 2008-09-22, Socomlavia IV was shut down. There was a short-lived backup forum, called the Anti-Socom Squad. On 2008-10-01, I purchased a license for the latest version of Invision Power Board, and Socomlavia V was established.
The first few months were great; we even formed one of our rare alliances, this time with the massvoting pros of the Duck Division. But, output slowed down, and the number of acceptable new sign-ups dropped to zero. We made one of our obsessive fanboys an official member to spice things up; his poorly constructed rambling amused us until we got tired of him sprinkling every post with expletives, emoticons, and a language barrier.
We discovered and did battle with the Food Face Force. However, similar to our internal problems, they were unlike anything we had ever faced before; they had an almost enigmatic quality about them, and refused to go away no matter what we threw at them. In fact, they seemed to enjoy it.
On 2009-01-27, Pineapple became fed up with the downward slide he percieved the group as being on, and erased every topic on the forums. Five days later, after speaking with AngryFace and Splatter about the group's future, I decided "Fuck this, we're dead for real this time." and set up a small forum where the group could live out its last days until the domain name expired.
Our last forum was online from 2009-02-03, until the final moments of the domain on 2009-07-06, and basically consisted of me shouting at everybody for being lazy and screwing everything up. There was also a secondary forum created by the traitor Mushroom, but he took it down himself within 10 days.
The group was briefly revived by Carrot and Pineapple in 2011, but I didn't join it, so I can only guess what the culture of that forum was like. On my part, though, I look back on the group as a fun time; calm afternoons spent with cool guys, mocking the system and those who didn't understand what we were about so we could cure our boredom.
If I have any regrets, they're that I didn't ban those vile blasphemers, Ian and Carrot, any sooner. Or those traitors, Domino and Coconut, who jumped on their bandwagon. Or that traitor, Hatter, who didn't even have Flash. Or that traitor, Paddy, who thought that seniority meant something. Or that traitor, Raspberry, who made a movie for the Lock Legion instead of us. Or that traitor, Pineapple, who thought Mushroom was worth bringing back. Or that traitor, Splatter, who never made his fucking Chemo Trial 9 part. Or that traitor, Blackberry, who thought he could exercise dictatorial control over a stupid spam Flash crew. What a colossal idiot that guy was, eh?
You know, after re-reading this, I realize it doesn't really provide a sense of the culture the group had. The problem is that I can't tell you what it was like; it was something you had to experience for yourself. Not that I can remember much to begin with - this all happened upwards of seven years ago.
I'm going to do something I probably shouldn't, and crack open the vault. It's not a complete archive, but the longest-lived forum isn't too bad to have as far as snapshots go. Just keep in mind that this happened a long time ago, and was a private group populated by bored teenagers; there's casual use of slurs and epithets because we just didn't give a damn about that sort of thing.
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